Monday, February 7, 2011

Me, Myself and My Ego

Me: "Nnnnnn….nnnnn….nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn"
My ego: "YES!"
Me: "Nnnnnnnnnnn….nnnnnnn….." {stop, pause for breath, mopping of brow, starting over} "NNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
My ego: "Yeah, we’ll see how long THAT lasts."

I have a problem. I can’t say no. People ask things of me, and my first response is to do whatever it is they need me to do because it will obviously make their lives easier.
I have become convinced that this is because of my ego. My body and my mind are a united front on this one, but unfortunately they are not quite as strong as my ego. This is how it usually goes:

Other person: “Morgan, I need you to drop everything you’re doing or think is important and take on this all-consuming task for me. It will pay little, take up a lot of your time, and it’s way below and/or far away from what you want to be doing, but I really don’t see you having problems juggling all the other things you’re doing, so I don’t think this will be that big of a deal. Whaddya say?”

Morgan’s body: “Ummmm….I don’t think this is a good idea…”
Morgan’s mind: “Yeah, I’m thinking that I’m already mentally exhausted, and Body isn’t doing all that great…”
Morgan’s ego: “OF COURSE we’re going to do it! Did you hear what that a$$hole said? He thinks we can’t do it! Of course we can do it! We can do anything! You can sleep when you’re dead, Body! You’ve got a long way to go before you show people that you’re worth anything, Mind! This is the answer! Stop being namby-pambies and BUCK UP!”
Morgan’s body: {checks reserves} “Well, I guess for a little while…”
Morgan’s mind: “Gee, Ego, you’re right. People will respect me more if I…”
Morgan’s ego: “SHUT UP AND GET TO WORK!”
{Enter montage of Morgan running in circles like a chicken with head cut off, ended with short video of Morgan lying in the fetal position}

Morgan’s body: “Can’t. Go. On.”
Morgan’s ego: “Yes you can! Get up! GET UP GET UP GETUPYOULAZYIDIOT!”
Morgan’s mind: {gathers last reserves of strength} “Nnnnnnnnnnn….nnnooooooooo!”
{Ego momentarily silenced}
[APPLAUSE]

It’s a cycle. I get a control on what it is I want to do, start feeling good about it and energized about what I will be doing, then someone asks something of me and I’m convinced by my ego to say yes. Suddenly all my energy is going into my new project that isn’t even mine, my body gives out, I burst into tears at the thought of all I have to do, and my ego only shuts up when there’s nothing else I can give and I have to go back to all the people I’ve promised things to and tell them I am wholly incapable of doing them.
I then get my time back, start doing things that make me feel better (take time for runs and yoga, eat better, drink less, sleep more), get a handle on things, start getting things done, and someone else comes in with a request and my ego perks up and takes over.

I’ve noticed recently, however, that my ego never serves me well at all. Not only does it push me to do things that aren’t on my priority list, it also won’t let me admit when I’ve done something right, or accept a genuine compliment when it’s given to me. Even when I am complimented on whatever it is my ego talked me into doing, it is unimpressed.

Example
Other person: “You’re doing a great job on this project that you didn’t have time for but managed to fit into your schedule anyway. In fact, you’ve put far more effort into it than we expected. I can’t believe how much you can get done.”

Morgan’s body: {tremulous smile before collapsing}
Morgan’s mind: “Well that’s nice that he noticed, but he’s right, maybe we could spend more time on…”
Morgan’s ego: “You are SO ANNOYING! Don’t you see, if we gave even more we would get even more praise? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the things we could get from this guy. Besides, we all know that we could have worked a lot harder. If he’s impressed now, just wait until he sees what we can really do!”
{Morgan’s mind is stopped from slapping Morgan’s ego in the face by the need to hold on to Morgan’s body to keep her from using the last of her strength to run far, far away}

Morgan’s mind and body: “NO! NEVER AGAIN!”
{long pause}
Morgan’s mind and body: “Er…well, at least not for right now. Right now we’re too tired. Maybe later.”
Morgan’s ego: {evil smile…wiped out by full-on punch in the face by Morgan’s body}